19 Aug Rin Johnson
You know, I don’t like it there. I mean I’m a dog person but they have all those wild black dogs and I walk around there and I can’t stop thinking, where’s the master?
Nobody sleeps better than white people.
They cuff us to hospital beds and then go home and sleep.
Anything can be a hospital bed, mom.
Fuck us is what they’re saying, mom.
I’ll cuss if I want to, mom.
It doesn’t matter how many women raise their hands at a funeral – the clouds are getting thick here – I’m just a black man, mom.
You used to rub my back so I could go to sleep but you’re too tall for me to rub yours.
Remember that story you told me mom, after you said all women wear false beards and all penises are actually vaginas and vice versa:
The gist of it went:
We had our fire.
We burned everything.
We listened for the ocean.
We covered ourselves in sand.
We feared the coming tide.
We made fire by rubbing two sticks together
We did not have diabetes
We did not know that sugar made us week.
We wore our hair natural
And we followed the smell of the flames.
One time after you finished the story you said see this story is about how abstract art was inevitable.
It’s always better to see all the sides at once.
ON HERDING CATS
First, Let me put my face in the palm of your hand.
I spent some summers there.
They cross pollinate.
They’re cat herders.
They are patient and smell like trees.
The women are allowed to leave their husband or
take another husband.
(There must be too many men or
Put your lip here.
It won’t get stuck.
They have gun control
And birth control
And when I’m with them, my asthma is under control.
All the food is organic.
nothing contains nuts.
They pay you to have children,
and They believe in ghosts.
Everything is clean because
They made jobs where people are paid to clean.
Nobody fights (without consent).
They even heard my complaint about the street lamps making it hard to kiss at night.
They dimmed them and right before let me cut a ribbon.
My picture was in the paper.
(They like to cut ribbons.)
Please leave your hand there.
It is nice to be held.
I made a friend and he told me:
They believe that tall men with big eyes are beautiful men.
They stand on their tiptoes and
They look them in the eyes and that’s how
They make love.
Rin Johnson is an artist and poet. Johnson has exhibited and read widely in Europe and the United States. Johnson is the author of two chapbooks, Nobody Sleeps Better Than White People from Inpatient Press and the forthcoming Meet in the Corner from Publishing House. Johnson writes for the Brooklyn Rail, is the principle at Imperial Matters and teaches image literacy and photography at Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU). Johnson was born in San Francisco but now lives in Brooklyn.